3 OCTOBER 1914, Page 9

During the past week the Germans have begun the serious

investment of Antwerp. The concrete emplacements of the great guns which they have brought up to destroy the out- lying forts have apparently hardened sufficiently for work to begin very soon, and we may now expect a desperate effort to take the first line of the Belgian defences. This consists of a ring of star forts. Beyond them is a second ring, and then comes finally the great line of earthworks which surrounds the city. Though, as we have explained elsewhere, besieged fortresses always fall in the end—granted the enemy are in sufficient force and have enough time—we are by no means inclined to be pessimistic as regards Antwerp. In the first place, the Belgians have a field army outside, and that field army, as has been proved only this week, is still capable of attacking its enemies, even though when hard pressed it may have to withdraw temporarily behind the forts. This is a very great point in favour of the Belgians, for such actions are very different from mere sorties by a garrison. They are battles in which the Belgian force can be greatly helped by the fire from the big guns that line their works. Trenches and field works stretching between forts are very bard things to attack.